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Steelers taking calculated risk with Wallace


The deadline for using franchise tags is Monday, but the Steelers have all but decided they won’t use one on receiver Mike Wallace.
The cost of a franchise tag for wide receivers — it is projected at a little under $9.5 million — isn’t feasible for a team that is right up against the projected 2012 salary cap and has more on its offseason to-do list than just signing Wallace.
There is a risk in placing the highest tender on restricted free agents, as the Steelers are set to do with Wallace.
Teams that would have had to give up first- and third-round picks in the past to sign Wallace only lose a first-round pick if they lure him away from the Steelers.
That change in the collective bargaining agreement — and cost — has stirred speculation that Wallace will be one of the more sought-after free agents come March 13 at 4 p.m., with the line for his services forming behind San Francisco.
Or New England.
Or Cincinnati.
Or Baltimore.
The reality is that the cost of signing Wallace away from the Steelers is still a prohibitive one.
Teams that have to give up a first-round pick for Wallace also have to overpay the Pro Bowler since the Steelers have the right to match any offer.
That combination is why Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine that he would be hesitant to sign a high-profile restricted free agent.
It is also enough of a deterrent for me to think that Wallace is anything but as good as gone if the Steelers don’t use the franchise tag on him.
I know it only takes one team –- and the Patriots, it should be noted, are flush with extra draft picks and salary cap space -– to overpay for a player.
And that it happens every year during free agency.
But the Steelers, given their own constraints and what they would receive if they lose Wallace, won’t be rolling the dice when they offer him the highest tender.
They will be taking a calculated risk, and one that is the correct play when it comes to Wallace.

— Scott Brown



  1. Lady Di says:

    Congrats, Hines. See you in Canton.

    Now let’s find a replacement who can run, doesn’t drop passes, doesn’t cough it up and doesn’t commit dumb-ass penalties.

  2. Jay Walker says:

    You got that right, Lady Di.

  3. Kel Love says:

    We will miss you Hines! I can’t say enough about you! Thank You for ALL that you did for us! You are a REAL team player!!! No matter where you go, You still belong to STEELER NATION!!! May God Bless You!!!

  4. Gary T says:

    Thanks for the memories Hines…………..You a;ready are a Hall of Famer!
    Best Wishes and hope you land a good job as an announcer ……You will be great
    at anything you do!

  5. Duffy F says:

    In the words of Mrs. Paterno (paraphrased) “Hines….you deserved better.” Thanks for your efforts on behalf of the Steelers. I enjoyed watching you play and respected most of all, your style of play. The Greatest Blocking Wide Receiver in the history of the NFL.

  6. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, L.D.!

  7. SteelHeart says:

    MVP Hines Ward – sad to see him go…. but it’s part of the “Circle of Life”. It would be tougher seeing him covering Kicks & Punts and then sitting on the sidelines.

    Kudos to the Steelers too – if they were not going to be able to keep him, then a.) Rooney himself talked to Ward ahead of time, b.) they kept Ward until his drunk driving charge was over, and c.) this gives all of the other teams plenty of time to consider Ward – if he still decides to play !

    But still a sad day….

  8. Clarence says:

    While we totally understand why the Rooneys had to let him go, it still hurts. I wonder if there was anything else we could have done to keep him in Black n Gold. As for Wallace, this is also, while again tough, the best move. Before we can even risk overpaying him we need to see what is his market value. If it is within the realms of what the Steelers believe then I believe the Steelers brass will keep him. If it is prohibitive, then we wish him well.

    Obviously, we all would prefer to keep Wallace, but not at the expense of the team. Surely while his contract with us wouldn’t be front end loaded, it could be 2nd year loaded with the expectationof the TV contract coming in next season. If we lose him, this is the year to do it with the plethora of WR talent that will make it to the bottom of the first round and even into the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Then Sanders and Brown will have a shot at the #1 slot. That would be scary, but injury could vault them into that slot just as easily.

    We have to keep snack, but Farrior, Foote, Chris K., A. Smith, these are all guys that would could see waiving as well, but that will depend on this draft and how that goes.

  9. Paulkie Raspa says:

    Today was a Rough Day to handle but we all knew it would come. HINES — You are a great leader on the field and one that led by example. We wish you nothing but the best…!!!

  10. WardRules86 says:

    My name says it all.Very sad to see you go.. The best of luck to you in the rest of your career.Thanks for being a true professional.You are one of the greatest Steelers ever.Thanks for the 2 super bowl wins the dancing with the stars win and your great work ethic.Mr.Ward thanks for making me a fan of you,the Steelers and the game of football,don’t ever lose that smile your are what the city of pittsburgh stands for,I once again as being part of Steelers Nation thank you


  11. phil the real steel says:

    Thanks for all you have done Hines and for you haters get a new team to hate on.Steeler nation don’t hate on our HOF players. I guess some forget about who helped us get the last to superbowl rings.

  12. phil the real steel says:

    Thanks for all you have done Hines and for you haters get a new team to hate on. Steeler nation don’t hater on our HOF players. I guess some forgot about who helped us get the last two superbowl rings.

  13. Carl says:

    Saw a the tweet from Larry Foote, “Hines Ward greatest Steeler ever”. Been alot of great Steelers players, but a statement like that is at the very least not to far from the truth. Thanks Hines, you play football like it’s meant to be played man…

    On another note, read that a dude from Yahoo! sports is saying that the Steelers have interest in Plaxico Burress. Come on, really?! Sorry, but that would be a stupid @ss move, and we don’t make those kinds of moves…

  14. FJG35CHS says:

    Not placing the franchise tag on Wallace is more of a fool’s bet than a calculated risk by the Steelers. If Wallace leaves via free agency, we could go from having one of the best and deepest receivng corps in team history to one of the worst and thinnest virtually overnight… No Wallace, no Ward, no Cotchery (likely gone as a free agent) leaves us with Brown (not a #1 receiver) and Sanders (hasn’t been able to stay healthy) and nobody else… Clear the cap space by also saying goodbye to Smith, Farrior, Foote,Kemoeatu and Hampton; use the franchise tag on Wallace and then work out the long term contract!

  15. Christian says:

    Hines, you will always be revered in this city. We love you and will miss you dearly. Thank you for always giving us your best. I can’t wait for your induction into the HOF.

  16. DK67 says:

    We go from having Wallace, Brown, Cotchery, Sanders and Ward to probably just Brown and Sanders next year. Can someone please explain to me what the hell they are thinking? If Brown goes down with an injury, we have no one. This is stupid in my opinion. Salary cap and all, do they really think they can find a proven player better than Ward for under 2M, which I’m sure Ward would’ve taken? I’d understand releasing Ward if it was followed by an article titled, “Steelers Sign Wallace Thanks To Cap Relief Provided by Ward’s Release”. I’m still looking, but haven’t seen that story yet?!?

  17. DK67 says:

    PS: Hines, please don’t sign with the Ravens, Browns or Pats. That would be comparable to Lois Lane leaving Superman to date Lex Luthor. I don’t think my heart could take it.

  18. Best of luck with everything you do in the future Hines – except if you play the Steelers at some point before you retire! You play the game as it is meant to be played – 100% effort every down, such a great example to your teammates. I will miss pointing out to my son your blocking effort on running plays and your toughness in the slot – the only thing constant in life is change and this one will take some time to adjust to. Now, the Steelers need to sign Jericho Cotchery for that slot position – he is a tough player who can make those catches.

  19. DAME1971 says:

    get rid of farrior while your at it

  20. Scott P says:

    Wallace in a Pats uniform would cause anal leakage throughout Steeler Nation.

  21. Dick says:

    Hines Ward will be a legend in Steeler lore. What a player he was! No wonder you see so many people wearing Ward shirts. I hope the Steelers can find some place for him in their organization. He surely deserves it. Good luck and a hearty thank you, Hines. I am looking forward to your Hall of Fame induction. As for Mike Wallace, I think there is a possibility we could lose him. I doubt his attachment to the Steeler orgqnization is strong enough to overcome a huge contract offerl and I feel like one willl come. It would be particularly galling to see him go to a team in our division and it could happen. However, if it does, I would expecf we would somehow find a way to resign Hines Ward. (He can still play!) Also, don’t sell Antonio Brown short. This guy can be a number one receiver.

  22. Nan says:

    James Farrior, Casey Hampton, Chris Kemoeatu and Aaron Smith, you have phone calls waiting …

  23. Van Man says:

    Sorry, but I can’t get misty-eyed about a multi-millionaire losing his job. Join the rest of the human race, pal!

  24. Illinois Steeler says:

    Wallace is overrated. They let the wrong receiver go.

  25. Harry says:

    I will personally drive Farrior to the airport if he gets cut. It’s the least that I can do to make the team better.

  26. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Harry: Let’s get a van and include Foote, Hampton, Komoeatu and Smith.

  27. Harry says:


  28. Dennis says:

    Both Hines and Farrior are great Steelers but it is time to get younger. Foote could play Farriors spot until a younger guy is ready.

  29. Michael says:

    The NFL has a hell of a business model. Sign a guy to a 5 year 25 million contract, cut him after the first year, and you’re off the hook for the balance of the money! But if a player holds out, he’s the bad guy because he’s “under contract”. The players shouldn’t sign more than one year and let the teams scramble every season to fill a roster. Like a pick-up game. The Steelers should be obligated to pay out the balance of the contract money to the guys they cut. Regardless if the think the suck or not. They’re the ones that drew up the contract!

  30. […] According to Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, that’s a very calculated risk for the Steelers. […]

  31. Dick says:

    I predict the New England Patriots willl offer Wallace a 5-year 42 million contract. Anybody think the Steelers will match it? Sure would hate to lose him.

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